Transnational cartels and gangs are fueling violence, death, and drugs not only at our border, but in every community across America. That is the thrust of a new Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) drug threat assessment report: an indictment of open borders, sanctuary cities, and the so-called “criminal justice reform” jailbreak movement.
These cartels and illegal immigration now pose the gravest threats to our public safety. At the same time, because such violence is fueled by foreign nationals and cross-border organizations, it is our most fixable public policy issue if we merely followed our laws on immigration and criminal justice. Today’s drug traffickers are not only killing tens of thousands with the deadliest drugs, they are fueling much of the increased violence in a number of metro areas. Because most of them are foreign nationals, they can and should be deported immediately and deterred from coming back with a border wall and robust interior enforcement. But thanks to the amalgamation of court-driven magnets canceling our immigration laws, sanctuary state policies, and the growing jailbreak movement, the political elites view both drug trafficking and illegal immigration as “low-level” crimes. Consequently, we are needlessly failing to eliminate these grave threats.
It’s no secret that almost all the illicit drugs killing Americans and all of the violence associated with them are coming from the Mexican cartels pouring their poison and personnel over our southern border. However, a more recent trend over the past decade is that the cartels are using transnational gangs operating in our cities as the distributors and enforcers of their criminal activity and are fueling much of the violence all across the country. For a full hour briefing on this issue, listen to my interview with former Texas border official Jaeson Jones.
Here is a summation of the facts from the new DEA threat assessment report:
Mexican TCOs [transnational criminal organizations] continue to control lucrative smuggling corridors, primarily across the SWB [southwest border], and maintain the greatest drug trafficking influence in the United States, with continued signs of growth. They continue to expand their criminal influence by engaging in business alliances with other TCOs, including independent TCOs, and work in conjunction with Transnational Gangs, US based street gangs, prison gangs, and Asian money laundering organizations.
The six cartels identified in the report as the predominant threats are Sinaloa Cartel, Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generation, Juarez Cartel, Gulf Cartel, Los Zetas Cartel, and Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO).
The distributors for the cartels in our major cities are either cartel associates themselves or Mexican transnational gangs such as MS-13, Nine Trey Gangsters, Mexican Mafia, Norteños, Sureños, and Latin Kings, or, in the Northeast, the Dominican gangs. These networks, according to the DEA, are “overseen by Mexican nationals or U.S. citizens of Mexican origin.” They “enter the United States legally and illegally and often seek to conceal themselves within densely-populated Mexican-American communities.” In the case of the Dominican traffickers, they “conceal their drug trafficking activities behind the cover of established ethnic Dominican communities in various parts of the Northeast,” most notably in communities within New York City and Lawrence, Massachusetts.
Given that so much of the drug trafficking and the associated activities are driven by foreign nationals, it would be easy to break up their networks. They should all be deported at the first sign of trouble. But they’re operating largely within sanctuary jurisdictions. This allows them to operate openly through the politics of the city and continue their “symbiotic, working relationship” to “remain the retail-level drug dealers for the Mexican cartels, often distributing drugs across the country,” according to the DEA.
Thanks to the lack of interior enforcement, the cartels will continue to suck us dry:
Mexican TCOs will continue to grow in the United States through expansion of distribution networks and interaction with local criminal groups and gangs. This relationship will insulate Mexican TCOs from direct ties to street-level drug and money seizures and drug-related arrests made by U.S. law enforcement.
And what about the other violence? It’s not just the 70,000-plus people dying from the drugs of the cartels. They are fueling so much of the increased general crime in our cities and even more rural areas.
Gang members serve multiple roles, including acting as hit men, providing protection, or trafficking illicit drugs back into the United States for sale and distribution. Besides drug trafficking, street gangs near the Southwest Border engage in a multitude of crimes, including weapons trafficking, alien smuggling, human trafficking, prostitution, extortion, robbery, auto theft, assault, murder, racketeering, and money laundering.
And what about the violence we hear about so much in Chicago? The reason there is more violence than usual over the past few years is because of the border, not just the domestic criminals:
The Mexican cartels provide a steady stream of drugs to the Chicago area. Though the Sinaloa Cartel and CJNG are the city’s most notable sources of supply, other Mexican cartels that deliver drugs to the area include BLO, the Gulf Cartel, La Familia Michoacán (LFM), and Los Guerreros Unidos (LGU). Chicago is home to several street gangs that are heavily involved in drug distribution, and collectively these gangs serve as the primary mid-level and retail-level drug distributors for the cartels. These gangs are also responsible for a substantial portion of the city’s violent crime.
This immigration-driven cartel violence and drug trafficking, along with human smuggling, is not only taking place in large cities. Charlotte Cuthbertson of The Epoch Times did a superb expose this week on how several small counties around Greensboro, North Carolina, have become major hubs for “drug trafficking, overdoses, gang and cartel violence, and human trafficking.” What is the cause? All rival gangs working on behalf of the Sinaloa Cartel, all coming from the border. As the Phoenix ICE office reported, 95 percent of those caught in Arizona (which is Sinaloa territory) go to the East Coast.
Some take solace in the fact that this is “merely” cartel-on-cartel violence. But do we really want American to become like Mexico? And do you really think it doesn’t affect the rest of us when this is going on in our communities? Derek Maltz, former head of the DEA’s Special Operations Division, told me that cartel violence on our soil is some of “the most extreme violence” he’s ever seen in our neighborhoods. “To see a photo of a human being wrapped in duct tape and burned to a crisp on the streets of Detroit was an eye-opening experience in understanding the level of violence the cartels use,” said Maltz. He also pointed out that they often get the wrong address of a stash house of rival gangs and wind up torturing completely innocent people to death in a home invasion.
This all stems straight from the border, drug trafficking, and the cartels. As the DEA report observes: “In many of the southernmost states, street gangs, especially the transnational
Hispanic gangs, exploit the Southwest Border, predominantly in California and Texas, traversing into Mexico to work with cartels.”
But it’s not just at the border. The cartel violence is everywhere:
According to the NGR, nearly 40 percent of law enforcement respondents surveyed reported that gangs in their jurisdictions partnered with drug trafficking organizations; generally, the gangs distributed drugs on behalf of the DTOs. The Sureños, Norteños, and Bloods ranked highest as the most active gangs with DTO alliances, while the Sinaloa Cartel had the strongest relationship with gangs throughout the United States.
Which brings us back to jailbreak. After reading this report, you can better appreciate the sophomoric nature of the arguments that we are arresting “low-level drug offenders” who need not be incarcerated and locking them up for years. In fact, anyone peddling this lie is ignorant of the changing dynamics of the drug crisis over the past decade. Look at the websites of almost every U.S. attorney in major cities, and you will see that the people they are arresting on drug charges are all vicious transnational gang members working for the cartels, not just to poison our people, but committing unspeakable violence in our communities, including human and sex trafficking right on our soil. Often, they are picked up on murder charges but are ultimately convicted on drug trafficking, wire fraud, and RICO. Yet under the “Frist Step Act,” which was just signed into law with hardly any debate, all of these people are eligible for early release and front-end sentencing reductions.
Right before Christmas, the U.S. attorney from eastern Virginia, a hot spot for criminal alien activity, announced charges against a Honduran illegal for transporting a 13-year-old for the purpose of sex abuse. Thanks to the immoral policies of the courts, Schumer, and Pelosi, he was incentivized to come here with the very girl he was abusing and used her to obtain the benefit of catch-and-release, whereby he continued to abuse her in Florida and Virginia. He will now be eligible for early release.
Where is any sense of morality in our political class – from the media and “humanitarian” groups to the politicians and religious institutions? Somehow, the very people who have caused and exacerbated the most evil crimes against Americans and helpless migrants are now the ones to dictate to us the non-solution.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.